Air France and Airbus Charged with Manslaughter in Flight 447 Crash
Both Air France and Airbus have disagreed with the decision, arguing that there is no liability behind the indictments as the aircraft’s flight recorders, commonly known as black boxes, have not been located. As a result, investigations into the accident remain in its first phases.
Initial investigations say the accident could have been caused by malfunction of the airplane’s speed sensors (Pitot tubes), while the airline failed to respond quickly to the reports.
On June 1, 2009, an Airbus A330-200 jetliner operated by Air France as Flight 447 and on route from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Paris, France crashed into the Atlantic Ocean around three and a half hours after taking off.
Five days after the crash, search and rescue teams recovered two bodies and floating debris from the aircraft. Only 51 bodies were recovered after the search was called off on June 27, 2009.
Due to the location of the accident, no eyewitnesses exist and the aircraft’s black boxes have not been located, which are key in the investigations into the accident. France’s civil aviation security bureau (BEA) has said that there is no guarantee the black boxes would be recovered.
After several failed search operations in the 17,000 square kilometers (6,600 square miles) area, Air France CEO Pierre-Henri Gourgeon said search efforts for the aircraft’s wreckage and black boxes would resume next week with the use of a German mini submarine.
The accident marked Air France’s deadliest, and BEA chief Paul-Louis Arslanian called the incident the worst accident in French aviation history.